LMUD — Cowboy up and take your lumps

Editor’s Note: This My Turn is a reaction to Tuesday’s Lassen County Board of Supervisors meeting. For context, see the Lassen News story, “LMUD requests a $300,000 environmental review of the Hayden Hill powerline,” posted earlier today.

When I was just a wee little lad my mother taught me the best thing I could do when I made a mistake is to admit it, ask forgiveness, make whatever correction I can and then hold my head high and get on with the rest of my life. Everyone makes mistakes.

For 15 years the Hayden Hill power line has been a ponderous economic burden on Lassen Municipal Utility District ratepayers. Fifteen long and costly years. At yesterday’s Lassen County Board of Supervisor’s meeting county staff revealed the district’s latest intention to throw yet another $300,000 of the ratepayer’s good money after all the bad money they’ve already spent on a power line that will never provide even a single electron of electricity to any LMUD ratepayer. Pat Holley, LMUD’s general manager, said he and the LMUD board have undertaken this effort to benefit us, the district’s ratepayers, and save us the expense of removing the power line — an obligation the district assumed as a condition of the purchase all those years ago.

Holley told the supervisors he and the LMUD board have a second reason for trying to save the Hayden Hill line.

“We just see so much — a lack of common sense in California energy policy,” Holley told the supervisors. “To remove an asset that’s worth millions of dollars and could help ranchers in the area, we just don’t believe that’s good policy. So, we’re doing everything we can to make sure that it’s transferrable, that it has a long life, that it’s permitted properly. Two reasons for doing it.”

That’s not what LMUD is supposed to do. Quit worrying about California energy policy and satisfying the needs of north county ranchers. Focus instead on providing us the cheapest, most reliable power you can.

Enough is enough. The best and only way to save ratepayer money today is to finally admit the error made so long ago, accept the consequences of that mistake and put this Hayden Hill debacle behind us once and for all.